News Brief – May 29, 2011
A suicide bomb attack has left a Nato general severely injured and killed a police chief in northern Afghanistan.
Two German soldiers and at least two other senior Afghan officials were reported to have died in the attack. Several others were injured.
Major General Markus Kneip, commander of Nato forces in northern Afghanistan, received wounds that were severe but not life-threatening. He is one of the few high-ranking international military officers to have become casualties in Afghanistan since the conflict there began in 2001.
The Afghan police chief killed in the attack was General Mohammed Daoud Daoud, a controversial figure who had served as deputy minister of the interior for narcotics before being posted as police chief in the north.
Daoud had been bodyguard for the guerrilla leader Ahmed Shah Massoud who was killed by suicide bombers in 2001.
The deputy director of the local council in the province of Takhar, where the attack took place, Mujeebullah Rahman, said that it happened at around 4pm when a meeting called to discuss local security operations broke up.
“The bomber was waiting in the corridor, wearing the uniform of an Afghan policeman,” Rahman said, raising the possibility that local security forces had been infiltrated by the Taliban.
The attack came during a bloody 48 hours in which 11 international servicemen were killed in the south of the country.
Forty-four Nato soldiers have been killed so far this month, which is traditionally the start of the summer offensive for the Taliban.
Nearly 200 soldiers have been killed so far this year. The latest deaths include two British Royal Marines who were killed when a hidden explosive device was triggered near their patrol on Friday.
Many of the recent Taliban attack seem aimed at scoring propaganda points. These have included a mass break-out of captured Taliban fighters from a prison and an attack on the ministry of defence in Kabul earlier this year.
Targeting high-profile figures has long been an aim of the insurgents who recognise that a single strike can have a major value in the propaganda war, particularly overseas.